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It's time for another look at the major individual awards for this MLB season. This time around, we'll be looking at the Rookie of the Year race in the American League. Or, more specifically, we're basically just going to talk about two players. You might've heard of them. They play on opposite coasts, each for a wild-card contender -- one for a team with a well-known playoff drought and another for a team that no one expected to contend this season. 

First up, though, let's talk about the NL side. 

(All odds via Caesars Sportsbook)

National League Rookie of the Year odds

Feel free to break that field down however you please. I won't. As part of the BBWAA, I have an NL Rookie of the Year vote this season and therefore cannot wager on it or give gambling advice on it, as it would compromise the integrity of the award. 

Enjoy at your leisure! 

American League Rookie of the Year favorites

With all due respect to the others, as I explained in the intro, I'm only going to discuss Rodriguez and Rutschman. It's going to be great theater to watch this race down the stretch. 

The case for Rodríguez

Through 107 games, the 21-year-old wunderkind is hitting .271/.328/.475 (133 OPS+) with 19 doubles, three triples, 20 home runs, 64 RBI, 62 runs, 23 steals and 4.4 WAR, per Baseball-Reference (he's at 3.5 WAR in the Fangraphs version). He's a dynamic baserunner who is fourth in steals and within striking distance of the lead. 

He'd have to get hot at the plate, but a 30-30 season isn't out of the question. Even if he just gets to 25 homers and 25 steals, only two rookies have ever done that (Chris Young had 32 homers and 27 steals in 2007, finishing fourth in NL ROY voting while Mike Trout had 30 home runs and 49 steals in 2012, winning AL ROY). With his home run Wednesday, Rodríguez became the 12th rookie to ever go 20-20. Six of the previous 11 won the award (list here). 

He's also a great defender in center field who gets above-average jumps on the ball. 

If there is a slight blemish, perhaps it's the 123 strikeouts in 417 at-bats and only 29 walks in 454 plate appearances. 

Still, this is a stellar rookie. He's won AL Rookie of the Month twice (May and June). We're looking at one of the better power-speed combos in the league who plays well above-average defense at a premium position. 

He's the leader in the clubhouse. But it's not over. 

The case for Rutschman

In 74 games, the 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick is hitting .257/.367/.452 (133 OPS+) with 25 doubles, a triple, eight home runs, 25 RBI, 49 runs, two stolen bases and 3.4 WAR on Baseball-Reference (he's at 3.6 in Fangraphs' WAR as it's heavier in framing). He's struck out 54 times with 43 walks, helping to push him ahead in on-base percentage here by a healthy margin while nudging him ahead in OPS. 

It will be interesting to see how much credit Rutschman is given for the Orioles' pitching staff. They have been much better than in past years and have outperformed expectations this season. The other Orioles catcher to log a heavy workload is Robinson Chirinos, and the staff has a 4.41 ERA with him compared to 3.65 when Rutschman is behind the plate. Rutschman scores out as one of the best framers in baseball and generally scores out very well in all defensive metrics.   

We do have to consider that Rodríguez has played in 32 more games, providing the team value for longer, but that also gives him an advantage in counting stats. Would that excuse the huge gap in RBI in addition to the gaps in runs and home runs? 

As I said above, it looks right now like Rodríguez would win. It could be trending toward Rutschman on a rate basis, though. 

Both of these players started slow, as there's an adjustment period to Major League Baseball (even Trout was lackluster at first). In Rutschman's last 60 games, he's hitting .288/.402/.522. If he keeps hitting like that the rest of the way, his triple-slash line will have him in position to win. 

Of course, Julio will also be playing and could get pretty hot in his own right. 

The pick

I'm going Julio Rodríguez, but I wouldn't challenge those who would rather have Rutschman at these odds. I would push back against betting on anyone else. This is a two-horse race and we're late enough in the season that it would feel like throwing money away to speculate on anyone else.